Loggers turned back on their way to Sinapa, Collingwood Bay

                                              Eye-witness account from Tufi:

 "Last Monday a group of eight Malaysian men landed here at Tufi. They headed down to the wharf where they first bought a load of supplies in Cyril's trade store, and then made arrangements with a small boat to take them down the coast to Airara. A hired little dory, owned by locals who fish for the resort, would have been filled pretty much to the railings with goods and all and would have been quite a sight when it took off.

From what I hear, the Malaysian men had made a deal with a Sinapa landowner to start logging in the area. The land owner, who is a long time Port Moresby resident then turns out to be from Airara, and wouldn't under any circumstances, have rights to make decisions above the chiefs & leaders of the villagers living in the area. To me it sounds like he fooled these Malaysians quite profoundly, and that he had better kept his head down when they returned to Port Moresby. Because that's what happened!

People in Collingwood Bay were somehow informed of what was taking place, and just when the dory had turned the first point at Komoa, they were intercepted by a dinghy with Sinapa landowners. The "shipment" was stopped, apparently by (landowners) telling them that their boat would be put on fire if they continued. The loggers had to return to Tufi wharf empty handed, and they had no other choice than to stay  at the resort for two nights awaiting the first plane out. The next day they were seen around the wharf area, sitting around killing time (see pic).

The Sinapa people also had a talk with the resort making sure there was no involvement from them (the Tufi Dive Resort), and were assured that they had full support. In the Tufi area, tourism is the most promising investment for future incomes, so the people here, including the resort of course, are supporting the Collingwood people 100 percent (anti-logging). With the many inter-marriages with the Maisin, the Tufi people are also quite well informed.

It is evident that one has a problem here in PNG with "Port Moresby landowners". Villagers who have lost much of their home contact try to make a quick score on deals with foreigners. One must also question, and many here do, how foreign visitors with such obvious intentions are allowed into the country at all. Not only does it represent a threat to the environment and the peoples' constitutional rights, but it also stirs up anti-Asian feelings. I have heard comments like "They are the enemy" this last week, and the corruption subject always comes up when the current developments in Collingwood Bay are discussed.

All in all, a happy ending to this incident, but it shows that one has to be on watch constantly these days. Quite depressing really, but right now I choose to cheer for the battle won last week".

Jan Hasselberg
Presently in Tufi



Design in CSS by TemplateWorld and sponsored by SmashingMagazine
Blogger Template created by Deluxe Templates